How Many Hours a Day Should a High Schooler Spend on Home School?

When comparing public school students with homeschooled children, it can be easy for parents to wonder if they are doing enough for their child’s education – especially in high school, when they start thinking about the future.

Many high school homeschoolers spend as little as 2 to 3 hours learning on school days, although some students may need as many as 8 hours per school day. The right answer will differ based on the student, family, and state requirements. 

So, how long does a high schooler need to spend on homeschooling each day?

An image of a Cheerful high school student holding a tablet and smiling at the camera.

How Long Should Homeschooling Take Each Day for a High School Student?

A homeschooled high schooler needs to spend enough time studying each day to learn the subjects required by their local homeschool laws. Depending on the student and the state’s specifications, the exact time this takes could range between 2 to 8 hours. Time can vary each week as things change.

Every state has different standards for what should be included in a high school curriculum. For example, Texas includes state history and government as required subjects.

In addition, if the student plans to take the SAT (and/or ACT) or apply to a specific college, this will affect the subjects they need to study and the amount of time they spend. Once the SAT (and/or ACT) is done, a student may not need to do as much schoolwork or study time and can have fewer hours spent each day during homeschooling.

Students’ goals and interests are important in figuring out the daily school schedule.

A student who plans on attending medical school will need to take science classes all four years of high school, while other students might opt out of science for their senior year and focus more on other subjects. 

Individual personalities and learning styles also come into play in deciding how many hours to spend at school. Students with limited attention spans might do better with a couple of hours of school six days a week instead of five jam-packed days followed by a full weekend.

The great thing about homeschooling is that it is flexible and customizable within the boundaries of state guidelines. There is the freedom to experiment and figure out what works best for a particular student. 

Are 2 Hours of Homeschooling Enough For A High School Student?

Some high school homeschool students may be able to complete their homeschooling in as little as 2 hours per day, though they may need some longer days. A homeschooled high schooler should spend as much time on their schooling as is needed to complete it proficiently, within reason.

Since public school days are generally between 6 and 7 hours long, it might seem like homeschoolers also have to spend this much time each day. However, homeschooling’s unique format means a shorter amount of time. Even as little as 2 hours can be enough. 

Most of the time spent at public school is used on transitions between classes, classroom management, and other non-educational activities that are unnecessary for homeschooling. In addition, public schools have to teach all students at the same pace. 

In contrast, a gifted homeschooler who learns material quickly does not need to spend such a large amount of time on school. If they can get a handle on the state-required subjects in 2 hours a day, that is all the time they need for school.

This leaves homeschooled students room to join extracurricular activities, pursue hobbies, or take on a job. 

However, some students may be slower learners or genuinely enjoy school and want to spend more time studying. The correct answer to the amount of time spent on homeschooling daily is “however long the student needs.” However, if a student spends an obscene amount of time each day studying, it may be worth looking into if they’re doing too much.

How do you know if you need to spend more time on school each day?

If it is proving difficult to cover the subjects your state requires for high schoolers in sufficient depth, or a student is struggling to understand the material, investing some more time in homeschooling each day is probably a wise choice. 

Of course, increased time on its own may not improve the quality or quantity of what students learn. Some good strategies to bolster the education of a struggling high schooler could include hiring a tutor, joining a dual-credit class at a community college, or participating in a co-op.

A student’s challenges may be limited to a subject or chapter. In this case, the increased length of the school day would only need to last long enough to get them past this roadblock. 

If parents are under too much stress in this situation, there is the wonderful option of hiring a tutor or teacher for your homeschooled child.

An image of a high school girl teenager Homeschooling and doing homework.

How do you know if you need to spend less time on school each day?

The advanced classes and heavy high school workload can be taxing for students. If the amount of time they spend on school harms their well-being, it is probably best to find a way to cut back. 

Excessive time spent in school could lead to sleep deprivation, social isolation, lack of exercise, stress-related health problems, and possibly even mental health issues like anxiety.

Students can feel a lot of pressure to perform well academically, which can be complicated for homeschoolers since their parents are their primary educators. 

If a student’s school schedule seems to be harming their well-being, it may be necessary to get creative and find a way to reduce stress while still meeting state requirements. It’s important to figure out what aspect of the school is overwhelming for them. 

Perhaps it is not the amount of time spent that is the problem, but the number of subjects. A unit-study approach, delving deeply into single subjects for weeks at a time, could work well for students who struggle to multitask. 

How Much Time Should Be Spent on Each Subject in High School Homeschooling?

The subjects a student studies and the amount of time devoted to them depend on local homeschool regulations and the student’s interests and future plans. Several hours a day might be needed for math, while history could take up just one hour a week. 

Here are some questions to ask when determining how long to spend on a subject:

  • Does the state require this subject?
  • Is it included on standardized tests?
  • Does the student have a particular interest in this subject?
  • Is this something they are likely to use in their future career?
  • Is this a subject that they struggle with?
  • Is this a subject that comes easily for them? 

Answering these questions can provide a starting point for deciding whether to include a subject and how many hours of the week it should occupy.

Students will naturally find it easier to get lost and spend a lot of time learning about things they love; meanwhile, studying topics they don’t love as much may be a chore. However, it’s important to cover the basics (especially required for graduation) in as much detail as needed to get the job done. If this means a few longer days to learn the required subject material, so be it.

Do States Have Laws about How Much Time a High School Student Should Spend Studying for Homeschooling?

Some states have a minimum number of hours homeschoolers must spend on school each year, which can be subject-specific. It is less common for states to require a particular number of hours daily. 

It is wise to check state laws when in doubt, especially if there is a requirement to log school hours or attendance. Knowing the local laws about which subjects should be taught and for how long can be the first step to building a custom family homeschooling schedule. You may also want to be familiar with any other local laws or ordinances that could impact your child’s high school homeschool time requirements.

To find your local state, city, and/or district laws about hours, you can do an online search (using the search engine of your choice) or go to your state’s .gov page and look up the education department. They should have links to the pertinent homeschooling laws within the educational branch of your local and/or state government pages.

An image of Teenage students brainstorming in front of a laptop in a classroom.

Key Takeaways and Next Steps

Determining how long to spend on homeschooling each day comes down to legal requirements and personal preferences. The time spent can vary from student to student and day to day. 

As with other aspects of homeschooling, it is important to be flexible. It may become apparent that a student is struggling or overwhelmed, and there may be a need to increase or reduce homeschooling hours accordingly. 

Balancing a quality education with a student’s well-being can be challenging. However, perseverance and creativity can help homeschoolers fulfill state requirements while keeping high schoolers healthy, happy, and learning.

Parents may wonder about other resources and options when homeschooling their children. Take a look at these articles:


Learning from your own experience is important, but learning from others is also smart. These are the sources used in this article and our research to be more informed as homeschoolers.

  • Wilson, J. (nd). Surprising homeschool hour requirements: how many hours should homeschooling take? Homeschool Super Freak.

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